Legalise Cannabis
A worker harvest buds of marijuana in a medicinal cannabis farm, approved for medical use and under the supervision of the government's agricultural service during the harvest season between March and April in the town of Quinamavida in Linares city, Chile March 24, 2016. Picture taken March 24, 2016. Reuters/Juan Gonzalez

Health Minister Cameron Dick is all set to introduce the Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016 to Parliament, which will allow widespread use of medicinal cannabis in Queensland. The bill would set up a robust framework and most progressive laws in Australia to ensure safe prescription of medical marijuana.

According to Dick, more than 1,000 people responded to an online survey of the draft bill, and 96 percent of the respondents voted in favour of medicinal use of marijuana. New South Wales (NSW) has already established a medicinal cannabis scheme for those with terminal illnesses. Earlier this month, the Federal Government also introduced legislation that would allow Australia to grow medical marijuana.

“Queenslanders have sent us a strong message — we have listened, and by presenting this bill to Parliament we are moving towards delivering for them,” Dick told the Parliament on Tuesday.

Dick also pointed out the fact that legalising cannabis in Australia does not mean anyone can cultivate their own marijuana. The NSW scheme requires patients to register first for the scheme only with the support of a licensed medical doctor.

“It's important we acknowledge that medicinal cannabis is a dangerous drug and should be regulated properly. Clinicians need to balance effective treatment by any drug — and its ability to relieve symptoms — with potential side effects,” he said.

According to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Queensland government worked with NSW and Victoria to draft the legislation. She also warned that the legislation must not be looked at as a green light for recreational cannabis use, and it would still be illegal for people to grow their own marijuana even for medicinal use.

Unfortunately, the little girl who was at the very centre of debate over the benefits of marijuana legalisation, Rumer Rose, died at her home in far north Queensland on Monday. The two and a half-year-old girl’s dad, Adam Koessler, was caught giving cannabis oil to his daughter, in the hope it would cure her from an aggressive stomach cancer.

His case was vigorously supported by “legalise marijuana” supporters. Even the court appreciated the desperation of a parent to cure a child of a life-threatening medical condition. Justice Peter Flanagan sentenced the man to a two-year good behaviour bond and a $500 fine. He did not even implement a community service order.

Koessler wrote on Facebook that little Rose passed away in her sleep at her home in Cairns on Monday morning. Her fourth birthday was just weeks away.